by Gabriele D'Annunzio (1863 - 1938)
Translation © by Garrett Medlock

Pullula ne l’opaco bosco e lene
Language: Italian (Italiano) 
Available translation(s): ENG
Pullula ne l’opaco bosco e lene
tremula e si dilata in suoi leggeri
cerchi l’acqua; ed or vela i suoi misteri,
ora per tutte le sue chiare vene
ha un brivido scoprendo all’imo arene
nuziali ove ancor restano intieri
i vestigi dei corpi che in piaceri
d’amor commisti riguardò Selene.
Morta è Selene; morte son le Argire;
i talami, deserti; nel sovrano
silenzio de la notte l’acqua tace;
ma pur sembrami a quando a quando udire
il gorgoglio di un’urna che una mano
invisibile affonda in quella pace.

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with Gabriele D'Annunzio, Versi d'amore e di gloria, Milan: Mondadori Meridiani, 2004.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • ENG English (Garrett Medlock) , "The naiad", copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Garrett Medlock [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 14
Word count: 88

The naiad
Language: English  after the Italian (Italiano) 
The water crawls [through] the opaque forest and gently
trembles and expands in its light
circles; and now it veils its mysteries,
now through all of its clear veins
[passes] a shiver, unearthing the low 
wedding arenas where still rest intact
the vestiges of bodies which in co-mingled pleasures
of love regarded Selene.

Selene is dead; the [naiads]1 are dead;
the bridal beds, deserted; in the sovereign
silence of the night the water falls silent;
but truly it seems now and then [I] hear
the gurgling of an urn which an invisible
hand submerges within that peace.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 These lines seem to reference the Greek myth of Selemnus and Argyra, in which Selemnus falls in love with the naiad Argyra, but is overcome with grief when she forsakes him. As an act of mercy, Aphrodite then transforms him into a river which co-mingles with a spring named Argyra, which provided a mythological exposition for the actual river Selemnus near the ancient Achaean city of Argyra. This allusion is somewhat obscured by D'Annunzio's use of "Selene" for Selemnus rather than the normal Italian spelling "Seleno," and his pluralization of Argira, which I have taken to be a more general reference to those of her species.


  • Translation from Italian (Italiano) to English copyright © 2020 by Garrett Medlock, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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This text was added to the website: 2020-03-25
Line count: 14
Word count: 97